The Different Types of Air Conditioners

Are you thinking about buying a brand new air conditioning (A/C) system? With so many options available in the market, it can be rather difficult to pick one particular system, especially when each one of them has its own USP that might go along with some or the other need. So how do you decide, whether you should buy a window a/c or spend lavishly on centralized system?

Terms used to describe the functionality of different air conditioners can be a bit confusing. There are various types of A/Cs including: unitary, window, PTAC, central, split, Portable, ductless systems and so on. However, in this article, we’ll discuss some basic and most commonly used types of air conditioners. The below given types of conditioners are suitable for any residential, as well as commercial building.

Air Condition Types

There are many different types of air conditioner that may have seen in homes and offices. These range from window installed units, to wall mounted units, to completely centralized systems. Almost all the cooling systems use same element of air conditioning that includes: compressor, condenser, refrigerant,expansion valve, evaporator coil and so on. Let’s review the most commonly used types of cooling systems used in homes and offices.

Window Air Conditioner

Technically, this system is known as “unitary” AC system. It is made with self-contained unit that is installed in a window. This kind of air conditioning unit features all the necessary components of compact cooling system. It works by ejecting the heat out from the rear end and blowing cool air on the other.

Portable Air Conditioner

This system is regarded as the next generation version of unitary air conditioners. The portable AC can be placed on floor of the room. It is made with mobile self contained unit and discharges heat using a vent through exterior wall of the house. Even though portable units can be a bit noisier, they are considered to be the best option for heated rooms less than 500 SF in area. These units make perfect solution for extremely hot rooms that can not be resolved by centralized systems. Similar to window air conditioning units, the portable systems feature all the general refrigeration components as well. They eject heat out from the rear end and blow cool air from the front.

Ductless or Split Air Conditioner

The ductless or split air conditioning systems are also known as “packaged terminal air conditioner” or PTAC. These are common in hotel, motel, and apartment setups. However, the trend of ducting has increased in regular homes as well. These systems are called packaged units because they work by breaking the units into two terminals and refrigerant tube passes through the connecting wall.

One terminal package of the unit is located outside of the home, while the other one is placed inside which actually blows cool air. The exterior part includes: condenser, condenser fan and compressor. On the other hand, the interior unit or evaporative unit handles cooling and distribution and consist of expansion valve, fan and evaporator coil.

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning units are one of the most expensive and premium solution for cooling systems. It is one of the most preferable units for large homes and commercial places. It is one of the quietest, comfortable and best performing cooling systems. The only problem is that the cooling system require adequate sizing for your unit to perform well. In case, it is too large, the system may not provide adequate dehumidification and short cycle.

A Central AC unit consists of two terminals – the evaporative unit and condensing unit. The packaged units are inter-connected by the refrigerant tubing. Condensing unit, also known as external unit is a large boxy unit located outside the house that includes: condensing coils,compressor and condensing fan. On the other hand, the evaporative or internal unit sits in plenum of the furnace and includes: evaporator coil and expansion valve.

The final selection of air conditioner system usually depends upon certain factors. However, space and area size play a very important role in making the determination. Scientifically, 1 ton air conditioner can cool approximately 100 sq.ft. area. An HVAC designer will take into consideration all the related parameters and recommend you the best suitable for your space.

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